Repetitive Golf Swing, Hip Labral Tear

Ask the Doctor

I am a decent amateur golfer and regularly compete in a traveling league. I have been dealing with a shooting pain that radiates down my right leg. I have been diagnosed with a labral tear in my hip. I know I need to be treated, but I’m afraid that after surgery I won’t be able to continue playing competitive golf. What is the treatment and recovery time for labral tears and will I be able to return to golfing at the same level?

Dr. Shane J. Nho:

Labral tears are common in competitive golfers because of the constant hip motion Dr. Nhorequired to swing the golf club. A tear in the labrum, which is a protective cartilage in the hip joint, is usually caused by a femoral acetabular impingement (FAI). In some people, the bones of the hip have an abnormal shape and don’t fit together perfectly. This can result in bone spurs, which cause the bones to hit against one another rather than to move smoothly. After years of repetitive motion, this can result in the tearing of the labrum, which can be very painful and affect mobility.

Treatment Options:

Hip arthroscopy is usually the treatment to repair the torn labrum and remove the bone spurs, which will improve the movement of the hip joint. Although the surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, the recovery and rehabilitation time differ depending on the severity of the condition. Generally, complete recovery after hip arthroscopy is about six months. It can be longer or shorter depending on the injury and patient.

I recently treated former Illinois 2008 PGA champion and pro golfer Joe Emerich who is playing golf again. Joe suffered from pain in his right hip and a loss of motion that affected his golf game. He had a labral tear and significant damage inside his hip joint. I performed hip arthroscopy and he is now pain free and back on the course. Watch the video to learn more about Joe’s injury and recovery.

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